Thailand is a vibrant country with a rich cultural legacy that is known around the world for its beautiful beaches, delectable cuisine, and unrivaled hospitality. People often overlook one feature of Thai culture: the country’s love of lotteries and gambling in general.
In today’s article, we’ll look at gaming and lotteries in Thailand. From the current situation, the efforts of authorities to prevent unlawful gambling, and the origins of this passion for games. So join us as we navigate the country’s gaming landscape and provide you with an inside view for a better understanding of the situation.
The Gambling Evolution in Thailand
Gambling in various forms dates back to Thailand’s history, with the earliest type of chance games being mentioned as early as the Ayutthaya period (1351 – 1767). The country has long been recognized for its betting activities that have sprung up around cock fighting rings and even Muay Tuay bouts.
However, today’s gambling climate in the country is very different. The Gambling Act Act of Thailand, issued in 1935, outlaws most forms of gambling, and not much has changed since then. The national lottery and betting on horse races at the track are permitted for Thai residents, while a big portion of society also engages in illegal online gambling.
The lottery is held by the Government Lottery Office and has two monthly draws, on the 1st and 16th of the month, and sells around 100 million tickets for each drawing. For a country with an estimated population of 70 million, that is an awful lot of tickets.
For many citizens, the lottery draw days are something to look forward to. Heavily reported by TV and social media platforms, and it is growing by the day. Players typically use social media to write about their winning or losing tickets, and within a few days, news of a lucky winner with a multi-million baht ticket spreads, encouraging people to play even more.
According to Alisa, the Chief Editor at Thaicasinocenter, gambling is deeply ingrained in Thai culture and means much more than simply winning or losing money. She sees it as a place where people can socialize, have fun, and have a good time. Even though there are negative consequences to gambling, she thinks many Thais support the government’s plans to legalize casino resorts and regulate online gambling and sports betting.
A Growing Concern
According to a study run by Thailand’s Center for Gambling Studies, there’s an increase in the number of underage gambling in the country. Children aged 16 to 18 that play the lottery spiked by almost 23% in 2021. Despite clear regulations that say lottery tickets should not be sold to persons under 20 years of age, the authorities seem to be unable to stop this boom.
Another major concern when talking about Thailand’s gambling perspective altogether is that most people playing the lottery do not even see it as a game of chance. Citizens buy both tickets for the government lottery but also engage in illegal lotteries from neighboring countries like Vietnam and Laos.
One of the biggest issues the government is facing right now is overpriced tickets. Retailers sell 80-baht tickets for up to 120 baht. In an attempt to fight this trend, GLO tried selling their tickets online, but retailers also continue to have a big chunk of the market. Starting in June 2021, the GLO started selling online tickets, and the current numbers reached around 17 million, which is still very low. However, the expectation is for online ticket sales to reach 50 million by the end of the year, so there’s some hope in that direction.
Besides fighting the phenomenon of overpriced lottery tickets, the Thai authorities also need to allocate lots of resources to crack down on illegal online gambling activities. Recently, the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau arrested 32 suspects and impounded a 44-million baht Lamborghini Aventador in a case that looks into the Macau 888 online gambling operations.
Why is the Lottery so Popular in Thailand?
Firstly, the lottery is seen as a way to escape poverty. Many Thais live in poverty, and for them, the lottery represents a chance to change their lives. The lottery is seen as a way to lift oneself out of poverty and provide financial security for their family.
Secondly, the lottery is deeply ingrained in Thai culture. The lottery draws are broadcast on national television, and many Thais see the lottery as a shared experience. They watch the draws together with friends and family, and the lottery is often the topic of conversation in the days leading up to the draw.
Finally, the lottery is seen as a way to give back to society. A portion of the proceeds from the lottery goes towards supporting various social causes in Thailand, such as hospitals, schools, and infrastructure projects. Many Thais see buying lottery tickets as a way to contribute to the development of their country
Gambling and lotteries have been a part of Thai culture for centuries. Though it is illegal for the most part, a national lottery is still available for Thai citizens. The lottery is popular among Thais as it is seen as a way to escape poverty, a shared experience, and a way to give back to society. Despite efforts to regulate the market, the government is still facing challenges in stopping underage gambling and illegal online operations.